Student Support at JCHS

JCHS values diversity in the classroom in a variety of ways — including actively embracing and supporting the range of learning differences from one student to the next.

Educational Support

Our robust academic college prep program is strengthened by integrated support programs that allows us to welcome students with a range of learning differences.  

Inclusion at JCHS means valuing the unique gifts and supporting the distinct challenges of each student in order to deepen the vitality of our community. In the Jewish tradition, universal access to learning means that we embrace each member the community regardless of financial resources, physical abilities, or learning differences. 

For these reasons, we agree that “inclusion assumes that living and learning together benefits everyone, not just children who are labeled as having a difference.” (Falvey and Givner, 2005)

Our supportive program includes:

  • Specialized training for all our classroom teachers to ensure they are sufficiently educated on how to best support and celebrate the learning of each individual student
  • FreshSem for 9th graders
  • Supervised Study Hall Program
  • Teacher availability for one-on-one support
  • Regular sessions with a learning specialist 
  • A college preparatory curriculum with flexibility to accommodate documented learning differences
  • Designated learning space for students to meet with tutors and learning specialists

The JCHS Resource Center provides educational support to students, whether they are experiencing specific difficulties or just need a space to help practice developing their organizational and learning skills.

The Resource Center includes two learning specialists, experienced in special education, who collaborate  with classroom teachers. It is led by our Director of Learning Support, David Neufeld.  Our learning specialists work closely with:

  • Students who can benefit from support outside of the classroom 
  • Students who need increasingly challenging material 
  • Teachers who embrace strategies of differentiation to meet the needs of their students 
  • Parents who want to better understand the learning needs of their children 

Students with educational testing that identifies specific learning needs and makes specific recommendations for accommodations or modifications will work closely with our Director of Learning Support to develop learning plans that support their success. The Director of Learning Support and the learning support team will

  • Develop a student’s self-advocacy skills by helping students understand their academic strengths and challenges
  • Support teachers in providing appropriate classroom accommodations, modifications, and supports
  • Work closely with parents regarding student learning needs and differences
  • Provide resources about specific learning disabilities
  • Facilitate teacher-family meetings to review outside psychoeducational testing results and discuss recommendations
  • Give referrals for tutors, educational therapists, and psychoeducational/neuropsychological testing
  • Submit requests for ACT and College Board accommodations

Academic Advising

At JCHS, each student is assigned to an advisor in order to enhance his or her educational experience. The advisor’s role is to:

  • Provide overall support and guidance to students and parents
  • Act as a liaison between students, teachers, and parents as needed
  • Work with students to set goals for the year
  • Help students selecting courses for the upcoming year
  • Support students through their challenges
  • Celebrate students’ successes

By helping students to navigate their JCHS experience, and assisting students in making the most of the JCHS resources and programs that align with their interests and goals, our advisors prepare students for success in high school, college, and beyond.

The Ninth Grade Experience

JCHS provides a unique level of support for students as they navigate the first year of high school. During our freshman orientation, students bond with classmates across grades. Our FreshSem helps students orient to JCHS, learn how to build relationships, make healthy decisions, manage stress, and improve executive functioning, writing, reading, and study skills. There are 3 components to freshman seminar. One of them, JCHS Skills, is facilitated by David Neufeld, the Director of Learning Support; the next Health and Wellness is facilitated by Julie Beck, our school counselor; and the third is a weekly individual meeting with Michelle Matz, the 9th grade advisor and dean, which we call “Dean Time.” 

The Director of Learning Support works with new students helping them integrate into the fabric of JCHS through deepening their understanding of the structure and norms of the school, and supporting them in developing strategies for success. JCHS Skills includes orientations ranging from key JCHS tools, like email, OnCampus, and the school calendar, to deeper discussions of school programs and policies like the Academic Integrity Policy and the Shabbaton. A substantial part of JCHS Skills is devoted to teaching the students a variety of study and learning strategies, including time management, organization, note taking, test preparation, close reading, writing, and research. Finally, through guest visits and presentations, JCHS Skills helps incoming 9th graders get to know and build connections with the wide range of the wonderful professionals working at JCHS.


Our school counselor, Julie Beck:

  • Provides confidential and individualized emotional and psychological support for students
  • Works collaboratively with parents, teachers, and advisors to explore the best ways to support students
  • Offers short-term counseling
  • Provide referrals and resources to families whose students are in need of long-term support

Additionally, our school counselor supports students in navigating their first year of high school by working with the 9th grade class one day per week.

Julie Beck, LCSW
School Counselor & Director of Advising
415.694.5772 x107

Rabbi Josh Buchin
Dean of Students for Eleventh and Twelfth Grades
415.694.5772 x204

Ariel Cohen
Learning Specialist
415.694.5772 x261

Ellen Harms
Learning Specialist
415.694.5772 x131

Michelle Matz
Dean of Students for Ninth and Tenth Grades
415.694.5772 x160

Dr. David Neufeld
Dean of Learning Support
415.694.5772 x110